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Institutions, Informal Economy and Economic Development

  • Ceyhun Elgin
  • Oguz Oztunali

Using cross-national panel data, we examine the evolution of the informal economy through the course of economic development. Borrowing from previously published informal economy estimates for 141 countries over the period 1984-2009 and using panel data estimation techniques, we investigate the relationship between informal economy and the level of economic development, proxied by gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. Our findings suggest that institutional quality strongly interacts with this relationship. Specifically, we find that a higher GDP per capita is associated with a larger informal sector size in countries where the institutional quality is low. The opposite is true in countries with good institutions. These results are also in line with a two-sector dynamic general equilibrium model.

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Paper provided by Bogazici University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2013/03.

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Date of creation: Mar 2013
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Handle: RePEc:bou:wpaper:2013/03
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  1. Andreas Buehn & Christian Lessmann & Gunther Markwardt, 2013. "Decentralization and the shadow economy: Oates meets Allingham--Sandmo," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(18), pages 2567-2578, June.
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  3. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, . "The Quality of Government," Working Paper 19452, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  4. Friedrich Schneider & Désirée Teobaldelli, 2012. "Beyond the Veil of Ignorance: The Influence of Direct Democracy on the Shadow Economy," CESifo Working Paper Series 3749, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Gatti, Roberta & Honorati, Maddalena, 2008. "Informality among formal firms : firm-level, cross-country evidence on tax compliance and access to credit," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4476, The World Bank.
  6. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
  7. Benno Torgler & Friedrich Schneider, 2007. "The Impact of Tax Morale and Institutional Quality on the Shadow Economy," CREMA Working Paper Series 2007-01, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  8. Ceyhun Elgin & Mario-Solis Garcia, 2012. "Public Trust, Taxes and the Informal Sector," Bogazici Journal, Review of Social, Economic and Administrative Studies, Bogazici University, Department of Economics, vol. 26(1), pages 27-44.
  9. Francesco Busato & Bruno Chiarini, 2004. "Market and underground activities in a two-sector dynamic equilibrium model," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 23(4), pages 831-861, May.
  10. Roberto Dell’Anno, 2010. "Institutions and human development in the Latin American informal economy," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 207-230, September.
  11. Andreas Buehn & Friedrich Schneider, 2012. "Shadow economies around the world: novel insights, accepted knowledge, and new estimates," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(1), pages 139-171, February.
  12. Crafts, Nicholas & Kaiser, Kai, 2004. "Long-term growth prospects in transition economies: a reappraisal," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 101-118, March.
  13. Rajesh Raj, Seethamma Natarajan, 2007. "Technical Efficiency in the Informal Manufacturing Enterprises: Firm level evidence from an Indian state," MPRA Paper 7816, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. repec:taf:applec:45:y:2013:i:18:p:2567-2578 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Ceyhun Elgin, 2010. "Political Turnover, Taxes and the Shadow Economy," Working Papers 2010/08, Bogazici University, Department of Economics.
  16. Junko Koeda & Era Dabla-Norris, 2008. "Informality and Bank Credit; Evidence from Firm-Level Data," IMF Working Papers 08/94, International Monetary Fund.
  17. Andreas Buehn & Friedrich Schneider, 2012. "Corruption and the shadow economy: like oil and vinegar, like water and fire?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(1), pages 172-194, February.
  18. Friedman, Eric & Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 2000. "Dodging the grabbing hand: the determinants of unofficial activity in 69 countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 459-493, June.
  19. Ihrig, Jane & Moe, Karine S., 2004. "Lurking in the shadows: the informal sector and government policy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 541-557, April.
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  21. Ceyhun Elgin & Oguz Oztunali, 2012. "Shadow Economies around the World: Model Based Estimates," Working Papers 2012/05, Bogazici University, Department of Economics.
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